Homebodies - I get by with a little help from my friends


By Rita Friesen


Not so keen on all the lyrics of the song made popular by the Beatles back in the day, but that first opening line pretty much sums up my life this last month.

An incredible support team has surrounded me. One team member walked me through sheets of paper work with a calm, ‘just sign here’. Another set accompanied me on a series of firsts, first time back at church, first grocery shop, first back to the coffee shop – all outings that were as easy as breathing. Before. 

Members of our community stepped beside me in what I refer to as the before death but after diagnosis era. One call and the driveway received a wonderful layer of top grade gravel. Another call and four tips were delivered for us to fill as the family gathered to sort and sift the ‘stuff’ in the shed, the out buildings and the coal barn. Delivered and picked up. Casseroles, hot suppers, and baked wonders appeared on the kitchen counter. Friends spent an hour or two with my beloved as I stepped out for a break or errands. The support and guidance from the entire medical system overwhelmed me. I felt free to call and ask any kind of question, any time. The care and concern expressed to and for our entire unit was humbling.

 This ‘getting by’ continues. I am not tech savvy. Adjustments and maintenance for my communications system simply cause me to freeze. These past few days a grandson stopped by and quietly and quickly ensured that the old computer will continue to function – to the best of its aged ability!  The water pump croaked. One call and before supper a new one had water flowing as it ought. The winterizing of this old house has also been blessed with extra hands. Sometimes mine, but mostly extras. 

 There is a sinking feeling that flows over me whenever something goes amiss. Like when a ‘check tire pressure’ light glows on the car dash. I also refer to myself as ‘fractured’, broken in tiny sharp edged shards. The image of my wholeness is near. As day flows into day, and week follows week, I am able to retain what I am reading, to think cohesive constructive thoughts. I am not yet tackling work projects, afraid of suddenly being surrounded by a plethora of unfinished tasks, threatening and intimidating, destroying my fragile progress. 

  A ‘new normal’ is beginning to gel. I have had the opportunity to get back to work. My spirit hums when I can serve a family suffering loss or when I have the opportunity to proclaim the good news of the power and mystery of faith.

 Is this a thank you note? Partially. Is this an insight into my particular journey? Partially. It is a wonderful, public affirmation that ‘we are not alone.’ A grounding phrase from the New Creed of the United Church of Canada.